It was the time in Punta del Diablo when I totally fell for Uruguay. The atmosphere was relaxed, the town less crowded, with the best beaches, absence of high-rise buildings, one main asphalt road, and tiny town centre with restaurants, artisans and souvenir vendors.
“Punta del Diablo is love.”
Evenings were surprisingly cold here, but it was appreciated after burning on the sun the whole day. If you are dying to go to party, even if it’s a small town, the night life flourishes, and it can easily happen you will return back to hostel at breakfast time.
People from Punta del Diablo are significantly depending on tourism. To make their living, they usually rent an accommodation, work in restaurant, or became artisans. Those younger and in good physical condition teach surfing.
Surfing in Punta del Diablo
The town is like surfers’ paradise and I tried surfing here, too. First time. It is a unique sport, requiring full concentration, coordination and balance. Since I lack all of these, it is a challenge for me. If you are beginner, this is ideal place to start your practice.
My surfing alma mater became Playa del Rivero and Playa de los Pescadores where I chose the first surfing school I visited. There was an English-speaking boy who explained me how the lessons work, introduced himself as an instructor and said „ See you tomorrow“.
That day I told proudly everyone that I have my first surfing lesson next morning, and I could not back off.
Why would I back off from surfing?
When I came to beach next morning the waves were so big it frightened me. But then my instructor arrived and told me we are going on the other beach with smaller waves and my fear was gone. I can swim, but I respect water because it can take control over you easily.
First time standing on the surf
Surfing school I chose was La Surfera and charged 600 pesos per hour (14€), or 1800 pesos for 4 hours (42€, so one free lesson). Surf and wetsuit were included. I decided to take 4-lesson deal, and every morning I started my day with surfing. It was great, because I had physical activity, then breakfast at the hostel, and plenty of time for beach and sunbathing in the afternoon. My instructor, Federico, surfs 10 years (was 18 years old that time), has brilliant approach and boundless patience. On my first lesson he showed me the technique on the sand and then we went to water. I was always ready in the position on the surf and he was pushing me to waves. At the end of first lesson I was already able to stand a few seconds on the surf, but it was more luck than skill.
My second lesson was the worst, I was falling a lot and doing mistakes I did‘t even do the day before. When Fede named all these mistakes I focused on removing them and the next day it was different Soňa. The technique of standing was good so I could focus on balance and try to remain standing on the surf as long as possible. Slowly, but the improvement was obvious. I was falling for it more and more. My last lesson we were two „students“ so Fede was constantly pushing us to waves. Besides that, on each lesson I was asking him plethora of questions about surfing, and I appreciated his critique and comments on each move, because this was something pushing me forward. In the end, he told me I am ready to surf on my own, but I know it will be difficult without him since he was saving a lot of my energy. Next time paddling and choosing the right wave will be on me.